Press release

Held to account: restaurant director banned for putting customers at risk

Mohammed Koysor Ahmed, disqualified as a director for 6 years, failed to account to HMRC and breached food and hygiene regulations.

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Mr Ahmed, who was the director of Sonargaon Indian Cuisine Limited, has been disqualified, following an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

On 15 February 2016, Mr Ahmed signed a disqualification undertaking which bans him from being a company director and from being involved in the management of a limited company in any way for a period of six years from 7 March 2016.

The business, an Indian restaurant, went into liquidation on 24 April 2014 owing £303,132 to creditors.

The matters of unfitness which Mr Ahmed admitted for the purposes of the undertaking were:

He failed to ensure that Sonargaon Indian Cuisine Limited accounted properly and accurately in accounting to HMRC regarding its PAYE and NIC liabilities.

Following a visit from HMRC Officers on 10 September 2013, during which it was determined that Sonargaon had failed to accurately report wages paid to its employees, HMRC requested further information from the company. None was supplied and in its absence, HMRC calculated under-declared PAYE/NIC of £101,405.49. An additional penalty of £67,434 was levied due to the deliberate under-declaration.

Mr Ahmed additionally failed to ensure that Sonargaon Indian Cuisine Limited complied with European Community food and hygiene regulations on two occasions. At a visit by Food Hygiene Officers on 11 October 2011, it was determined that Sonargaon had contravened six regulations which put its customers at risk of food poisoning. Mr Ahmed pleaded guilty to this violation at Court and the company was fined £3,655.

A further visit was conducted on 25 May 2012 at which five further contraventions of the same regulations were found. On 20 August 2012 Sonargaon was found guilty of these and fined £30,000 plus costs of £3315. Only £1,750 was paid toward these fines and HM Courts service submitted a claim in the liquidation of £35,220 for the remaining amount.

Commenting on the disqualification, Mark Bruce, Chief Examiner for Insolvent Investigations South at the Insolvency Service, said:

This director sought an unfair advantage over their competitors by not declaring accurately its liabilities due to HMRC and by cutting corners with its hygiene and food safety practices.

The Insolvency Service rigorously investigates directors who breach legislation, particularly where customers’ health is put at risk, and this ban should act as a warning to other employers who are flouting the law.

Directors who also seek to obtain commercial advantage over their competitors show a total disregard for the business community generally.

Notes to Editors

Sonargaon Indian Cuisine Limited (CRO No. 06616632) was incorporated on 11 June 2008 and went into creditors’ voluntary liquidation on 24 April 2014. Its registered office was at 32-38 Osborn Street, London E1 6TD.

Mohammed Koysor Ahmed is of London and his date of birth is 1 June 1974.

Mr Ahmed additionally failed to ensure that Sonargaon Indian Cuisine Limited complied with EC Regulations 852/2004 and Food and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2006 on two occasions.

A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:

  • act as a director of a company

  • take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership

  • be a receiver of a company’s property

In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions can be found here.

The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.

Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.

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Published 17 May 2016